Thatcham Research to identify EV repair and insurance pain points

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15th December 2022

Thatcham Research will lead a project focused on Electric Vehicle (EV) collision repair and salvage processes and their impact on insurance claims and associated costs.

Working in partnership with LV= General Insurance, the research will draw upon real-world claims data to inform project modelling.

Adrian Watson, head of engineering at Thatcham Research, said: “In many circumstances, EV accident repair is no different from ICE vehicles. But under the hood lie everyday essentials, such as safe, cost-effective, timely post-accident repair, and the surrounding claims process so critical to putting any new vehicle on the road. And nowhere is the difference between EV and ICE more clearly underlined than in the insurance claim chain.”

One of the most significant potential blockers to wholesale EV adoption is the battery. Conscious that batteries are expensive, vulnerable items, OEMs rigorously protect them within crash structures, and batteries will rarely be affected by low-speed impacts.

Challenges arise when the battery is involved, either directly or indirectly as a result of a collision, or indirectly when the High Voltage system becomes associated with the repair.

Chris Payne, head of networks and engineering at LV=, added: “As a motor insurer, we’re focusing on two trends at the moment: developing green methods of repair and supporting the wider adoption of electric cars. That’s why this project is so exciting and crucial. It is about finding together as an industry what is the best way to repair EVs and their batteries, rather than writing them off. This will not only have a positive impact on claims costs, but will also feed a healthy second-hand EV market”

Vehicle salvage, dismantling and recycling specialist SYNETIQ, will also play a role in the project. As a business focused on recycling and re-using as much of a crash-damaged vehicle as is possible, it will bring insight into the readiness of the market for financially and environmentally sustainable EVs post-accident, with a particular focus on their batteries.

In the first phase of what is likely to be a significant cross-industry effort, the project will focus on identifying where the claims workflow is different for EVs, revealing potential pain points. Thatcham Research will also quantify the resulting challenges by projecting how the uptake of EVs will affect the transition to a fully electric car parc, to inform where more detailed work may be required in the future.

 

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